On March 8, 2018, the first meeting of the Advisory Group to Global Affairs Canada around the implementation of the Policy for Civil Society Partnerships for International Assistance was held.
As CSO representatives of the CSO Policy Advisory Group (CPAG), we were joined by Nancy Smyth (Director General, Social Development), Shelley Whiting (Director General, Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion), Vaughn Lantz (International Assistance Operations Bureau) and Ariel Delouya (Director General, Engaging Canadians Bureau).
It was a very productive meeting, and signaled a new level of collaboration and meaningful engagement, with government officials drawn from across Global Affairs, it is worth mentioning some highlights.
- Ariel Delouya will co-chair future meetings alongside Kimberly Gibbons (Ontario Council for International Cooperation) or Shelagh Savage (Coady International Institute) – one of whom will act as an alternate.
- As chosen by you in a survey just prior to the meeting, in the first year, the Advisory Group will focus on objective 1 (Empower women and girls and promote gender equality), objective 6 (Establish more predictable, equitable, flexible, and transparent funding mechanisms) and objective 8 (Engage Canadians as global citizens). The relevant Director-Generals will attend future meetings.
- We mutually agreed to the Terms of Reference (see below) for the CPAG (Mandate, Principles, Structure, membership and governance, Roles and responsibilities and Meetings).
- In terms of governance, we have asked the Director General, Engaging Canadians, to report back to the Group on the decisions made by the Assistant Deputy Minister, Partnerships for Development Innovation Branch, with respect to the advice we provide – to ensure some level of accountability.
- Among the roles we will play, we hope to evaluate the success of the CPAG against expectations we will set at the next meeting; learn from this process; focus in on some key action areas, looking at gaps, needs and challenges to be able to work towards finding solutions; provide input on the implementation plan for the Policy; and, report out to you in a timely manner in both official languages.
- We agreed a forward-looking calendar of activities (see below) – including the next CPAG meeting in mid-May and the Annual meeting with civil society in (tentatively November 2018).
- And we, as the civil society members of the CPAG, agreed to canvas you in the coming weeks around priority action items within the three objectives, and your gaps, needs, offers and challenges with respect to realizing this. A survey will be forthcoming, the results of which we will use to inform our next meeting. GAC will do a similar internal assessment. Where we find some common ground, we will work to identify solutions.
Kimberly Gibbons, Ontario Council for International Cooperation
Gillian Barth, CARE Canada
Gillio Brunelli, Development & Peace
Emrul Hasan, Plan International Canada
Fraser Reilly-King, Canadian Council for International Co-operation
Shelagh Savage, Coady International Institute
Mike Simpson, British Columbia Council for International Cooperation
Lorraine Swift, Change for Children